Kaiser Chiefs

•• Kaiser Chiefs + Maxïmo Park + The Cribs @ Brixton Academy, London, 25 October 2005
•• Published: musicOMH, October 2005
•• Original article: http://www.musicomh.com/gigs/kaiser-chiefs_1005.htm

A few years back it seemed that pop, dance and R&B had won the day: but that was before the great rock revival. The NME may be guilty of making and breaking bands at a frightening rate, but they never compromised their dirty great rock roots. Tonight's leg of their Rock 'N' Roll Riot tour sees three well-respected, much talked about, and in one case, phenomenally successful bands take to the stage to try and prove they can live up to the hype.

First up are The Cribs who seem to possess the same heavy sounding light-hearted paradox as The Strokes. Their brand of upbeat rock with covert pop sensibilities proves to be pretty magnetic and should see them surge up the bill with the same raw energy the three brothers create on stage. Their finale sees Gary and Ross Jarman indulging in some back of the neck guitar playing and rubbing the bass against the monitors to create an almighty wave of feedback. Their publicity that flashes on the stage-side screens may say 'Fashionistas, We Don't Need You' but they will attract them anyway, probably along with enough true fans to go the distance.

Next up are Newcastle's Maxïmo Park who impose themselves onstage immediately. All dressed in black they launch straight into an energetic, heel-kicking, art-rock racket which sees keyboard player Lukas Wooller entertainingly sprint-shrugging in time. No doubt they are absolutely loving every moment on stage, so much so that frontman Paul Smith pauses at one point to tell the audience he never thought they would be playing in front of a sell-out crowd and thank them for being so kind. The appreciation they receive is well-deserved though, their well-honed, rough yet melodic sound mingling with elements of The Smiths and The Cure and I Want You To Stay even echoing early U2. Add to this a charismatic singer who manages to strike a fine balance between attitude and gratitude, leaping around the stage like a crazed lunatic for the well-received Graffiti, and you have an exciting band who are worthy of the media hype for once.

Headliners, The Kaiser Chiefs then make their way onto the stage to the tones of Dire Straits' Money For Nothing, which, surprisingly, makes for an impressive entrance. Singer Ricky Wilson hits the ground running, and jumping, as he indulges in some tambourine throwing antics that surely contravene health and safety regulations. The energy of the quintet's songs requires such a hyperactive performance though and the lighting also helps maintain the frantic atmosphere with more strobe lighting than you would expect at an all-night rave.

Combining the cool of Franz Ferdinand with the cheeky indie-pop of Supergrass and even a dash of Madness, it is clear to see why 2005 has belonged to The Kaiser Chiefs. Wilson's voice is impressive, capable of vocal gymnastics not usually befitting of your average art-rock star, and every song is reproduced faultlessly live. The tempo-shifting knees-up of Time Honoured Tradition is followed by a singalong version of Na Na Na Na Naa before You Can Have It All sees Wilson dive into the crowd. In a move not seen since Bruce Springsteen spotted Courtney Cox at one of his concerts, he drags a girl up onstage where he sings to and dances with her, her night clearly made.

It's not the only time the singer gets involved with the audience, diving into the crowd again for I Predict A Riot, and almost causing one, then disappearing off stage, appear at the back of the room and audaciously crowd-surfing his way back to the stage. The encore then features a competent cover of Heard It Through The Grapevine before Oh My God brings the evening to a rampant close. How ever did we cope for so long without rock and roll?

- Ian Roullier, 10/2005
Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014